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Royals Working On More Lucrative TV Deal

“The Royals most recent 11-year deal, which expired after the 2019 season earned the club an average of $20 million per year.”

Brandon Contes

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FOX Sports Kansas City will once again carry Royals games for the 2020 Major League Baseball season and beyond. According to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, the two sides have reached an agreement with an official announcement expected soon.

While the Royals won’t see TV revenue near that of the league’s major market teams, which can reach $200 million annually, Kansas City will still enjoy a substantial increase. The Royals most recent 11-year deal, which expired after the 2019 season earned the club an average of $20 million per year. Flanagan reports the new deal will be similar in length, somewhere between 10-15 years, but should see a pay increase with annual rights fees near $48-$52 million. 

To compare, the Cincinnati Reds signed a new 15-year deal in 2016 with FOX Sports Ohio, which reportedly earns them close to $60 million annually, up from their previous contract worth $30 million per year. In 2019, the Tampa Bay Rays finalized their TV deal with FOX worth $82 million annually. The Milwaukee Brewers signed an extension with FOX Sports Wisconsin in 2013, paying them $21 million per year which is set to expire at the end of 2020. 

The Miami Marlins will also need to negotiate a new deal after this season when they’ll earn $20 million from FOX Sports Florida. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter reportedly declined a $50 million offer when he took the team over in 2017, a number that some analysts believe he’ll have a hard time seeing again. 

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NBCUniversal CEO Mark Lazarus: People Have Said Sports TV Rights Bubble Would Burst for 30 Years

“For 30 years everyone said, the sports [rights] bubble is gonna burst, it’s gonna burst. You’re starting to see rights fees growth moderate.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Mark Lazarus
Courtesy: NBCUniversal, Inc.

Value is power when it comes to sports rights, and NBCUniversal CEO Mark Lazarus understands that. It’s why newly completed media rights deals across sports, and college sports in particular, command billions of dollars from networks each year now.

Next TV reported that Lazarus, in a conversational interview with TODAY host Hoda Kotb on Tuesday, said while the price for rights to properties like the NFL, NASCAR, Notre Dame, and the Big Ten are astronomical, the cost is starting to level off in some ways.

“For 30 years everyone said, the sports [rights] bubble is gonna burst, it’s gonna burst,” Lazarus told Kotb. “You’re starting to see rights fees growth moderate.”

Lazarus mentioned that there are no individual content budgets for sports, news, and entertainment at NBCUniversal. Those three divisions have a single budget executives work from. Executives are responsible for finding content audiences will consume and a platform to house it on.

“What’s the best content and where can it be successful in our portfolio?” Mark Lazarus said. “It’s a combination of art and commerce.”

“We reach massive amounts of people, we have reach and scale,” he later added, pointing out the company reaches 65-70 million homes on pay TV and another 30 million on Peacock.

“That’s great for our distribution partners and that’s great for our advertising partners and it’s really important for our audience.”

Mark touted Sunday Night Football, which is a ratings juggernaut and averages 22 million viewers. The NFL streaming on Peacock has also seen strong numbers this season, with this past week’s Chiefs/Packers game having an average minute audience of 1.86 million viewers. That’s between Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms. It marked the second-largest streaming audience ever for a regular-season Sunday NFL game for NBC Sports.

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CBS Sports Shares Details of Spongebob-Themed NFL Broadcasts

Noah Eagle and Nate Burleson return to the booth for both games alongside Dylan Schefter and Young Dylan.

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Super Bowl LVIII CBS Nickelodeon

Get ready for some Turtles on Christmas and some SpongeBob on Super Bowl Sunday. CBS Sports and Nickelodeon are teaming up to deliver two alternate NFL broadcasts this year — one for the Monday night “Nickmas” game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, and then a second, SpongeBob Squarepants-themed broadcast for Super Bowl LVIII.

Noah Eagle and Nate Burleson return to the booth for both games alongside Dylan Schefter and Young Dylan. The live-action hosts will be joined by two groups of Nicktoons depending on the game.

SpongeBob and Patrick (voiced by Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke, respectively) will join Eagle and Burleson in the booth for Super Bowl LVIII, while Sandy and Larry the Lobster will provide some additional flair from the sidelines. The Bikini Bottom crew will be joined by Dora the Explorer and Boots the Monkey, who will explain penalties to the younger viewers. During the “Nickmas” Game on Dec. 25, the crew will be joined by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s Raphael in the booth, while Donatello will join Schefter on the sidelines.

The Christmas Day game will be Nickelodeon’s first regular-season game, as previous Nick alternate broadcasts were all during Wild Card Weekend. Last year, Nick aired an alternate broadcast of Cowboys/49ers, which drew an audience of 41 million viewers. The games have also become a social media phenomenon from adult viewers watching tongue-in-cheek.

The Nickelodeon Super Bowl telecast and Nickelodeon NFL Nickmas Game are produced by CBS Sports in association with Nickelodeon Productions.

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Pat McAfee Calls Out Roger Goodell For Not Appearing on His Show

“Hey Rog? Don’t be scared, Rog. Put your big boy pants on. It’ll be good, Rog.”

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Pat McAfee

Pat McAfee still wants a “white whale” guest on his show — and it’s becoming harder and harder for that guest to resist an interview feasibly.

On today’s The Pat McAfee Show, McAfee mentioned that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will appear on the program on the Dec. 6 episode, crediting ESPN for making it possible. McAfee then rifles off other commissioners that have appeared on his show, including NHL commish Gary Bettman and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and mentions that MLS commissioner Don Garber was interested in coming on the show.

Notably, three of these four leagues mentioned currently maintain a broadcasting relationship with ESPN, with the fourth (MLS) previously having one before leaving for the bosom of Apple TV+.

One league partner’s commissioner who hasn’t appeared is Roger Goodell, the NFL’s controversial commish who rarely makes media appearances outside of the NFL sphere. McAfee has long desired an interview with Goodell and called out to the commissioner personally to come on — as only he can.

“Hey Rog? Don’t be scared, Rog,” McAfee said. “Put your big boy pants on. It’ll be good, Rog.”

Among the crew egging Goodell on was New York Jets QB Aaron Rodgers, who was in the studio with McAfee and gang. The QB hasn’t been one to mince words lately and seemed more than willing to join in on the Goodell teasing to bring him on his friend’s show.

Should the crew plus Rodgers be together to speak with Goodell, it could create an interesting dichotomy for Goodell. One outspoken current player and potentially multiple former players (McAfee, along with former Colts teammate Darius Butler and Rodgers’ former Packers teammate A.J. Hawk) would provide a unique interview experience for Goodell, who is used to very controlled, one-on-one interviews with more muted individuals on the other side.

For the record, McAfee and company also pointed out that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred hasn’t appeared either, but the guys don’t seem too torn up about it.

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